CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration
Illustration by John Hersey

The problem with shadows


From:

CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

with Chris Meyer and Trish Meyer

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Video: The problem with shadows

So after you've learned all of these techniques, the day will come when you are going to create a nice room in Cinema, you are going to export everything correctly into After Effects, you are going to add a 3D layer in After Effects and you are going to go, "Something is wrong, something is missing." Well namely, there's no shadows in this scene. This text is not casting any shadows on this floor or back wall. Before you panic, there are a few things you should check out first in After Effects, because shadows are a little bit tricky. First off, you need to make sure that your lights have been set to Casts Shadows, that this little check mark is on, but as I go through my lights, I am finding that Cast Shadows is turned on for all my lights. Okay.
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Watch the Online Video Course CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration
1h 27m Intermediate Jan 26, 2010

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CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration was created and produced by Trish and Chris Meyer. We are honored to host their material in the lynda.com Online Training Library®.

Chris Meyer—a long-time user of both programs—explains how to move 3D worlds from Maxon's CINEMA 4D into Adobe's After Effects and add additional 3D elements that blend perfectly. Chris shows how to transfer 3D cameras, lights, and position data from CINEMA 4D to After Effects; create track mattes to composite new elements into the middle of a scene; and take advantage of multi-pass rendering to quickly remix and even recolor lights, shadows, reflections, and more. Paced comfortably for beginners, this course also reveals numerous advanced tricks and techniques, such as the use of blending modes and how to cast shadows from new 3D layers in After Effects onto rendered 3D elements from CINEMA 4D. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Locating objects for export from CINEMA 4D
  • Adding layers to a composition after importing into After Effects
  • Separating lights in CINEMA 4D and remixing in After Effects
  • Understanding the problems with shadows during integration
  • Refining 3D shadows in After Effects
Subjects:
3D + Animation Video
Software:
CINEMA 4D
Authors:
Chris Meyer Trish Meyer

The problem with shadows

So after you've learned all of these techniques, the day will come when you are going to create a nice room in Cinema, you are going to export everything correctly into After Effects, you are going to add a 3D layer in After Effects and you are going to go, "Something is wrong, something is missing." Well namely, there's no shadows in this scene. This text is not casting any shadows on this floor or back wall. Before you panic, there are a few things you should check out first in After Effects, because shadows are a little bit tricky. First off, you need to make sure that your lights have been set to Casts Shadows, that this little check mark is on, but as I go through my lights, I am finding that Cast Shadows is turned on for all my lights. Okay.

Ah! Well the second problem is is that layers themselves default to not casting shadows. So I will select my 3D layer, type AA and look at Casts Shadows, oh, I have set that On and I am still not getting shadows. Hm. Let's twirl that up. Okay, well the third possible problem, it's rare but it can happen, is that the layers receiving shadows are not set to receive shadows. So I will select my 3D Render, type AA, and I am not getting 3D Parameters. Oh! You know why? Let's Toggle Switches/Modes.

My 3D Render is not a 3D layer, and if I was to turn on the 3D layer switch, it would just go off into space. What's happening? Well, 3D Renders already have Camera movement and any perspective distortion built into them. You don't need that camera move affecting them again in After Effects. So the 3D layer switch must stay off for 3D renders. And the catch 22 is is that 3D layers in After Effects cannot cast shadows onto 2D layers, they can only cast shadows on the 3D layers.

Well, you might say "Oh I can fake this, I am going to go ahead and go "underneath Effect and Perspective, and use one of these shadows like Drop "Shadow or Radial Shadow." But frankly those aren't going to work because you want shadows on the back wall, and on the floor and on the window and they are all in different positions. So to make this work you need to learn one more technique. The technique of shadow catching, and that's what we are going to cover next.

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